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Downtown Fernie parking project gets underway

Three locations near downtown Fernie will be worked on in coming weeks
First Avenue in Fernie will be converted to one-way following works to be carried out in October. (Image courtesy of City of Fernie)

The City of Fernie has begun a parking paving project that will see new spaces added to three lots around the downtown area.

The ‘Downtown Parking Revitalization Project’ is funded by almost half a million dollars in grants, along with over $150,000 of city funding, and is for new paving and improvements at the Fernie Railyard Dog Park, the Fernie Skate park, and 1st Ave.

Work began at the Dog Park parking lot on September 22 ,while work on the Fernie Skate park parking lot will begin later next week, and 1st Ave will see significant works through early October.

The 1st Ave portion of the project will see the avenue changed from two-way, to one-way between 4th St and 6th St, with traffic to only travel south (like 1st Ave between 6th and 7th St).

With the change in traffic flow, there will be angle parking on one side of the street, and parallel parking on the other.

The skate park parking lot was included in the project after initial plans to lump in a temporary sani-dump location were scuppered by councillors who objected to the significant cost.

Including the skate park parking lot has the added benefit of reducing cost pressure on the upcoming skate park revitalization project, which according to city staff has seen cost overruns in the design phase.

The grant funding for the project was initially applied for back in August 2021 when the city considered four locations under the proposal: The skate park parking lot, the city-owned lot at 4th and 3rd (the Quail parking lot behind IGS), 1st St angle parking, and the dog park parking lot. The makeup of projects to be included changed over time due to cost overruns and changes in priorities, leading to the temporary sani-dump location’s inclusion, and then exclusion, and the dropping of the 4th and 3rd lot from the project.

At the time the city applied for the funding in August 2021, the inclusion of bike parking infrastructure was discussed, with city staff saying the proposal had been put together “in haste” to secure funding before refining plans. Under the plan as it exists today, there is no bike parking infrastructure included.

Construction for the entire project, which had its scope (to include the skate park) approved back on August 22, is expected to be completed by the end of October.

READ MORE: Three sites approved as part of Fernie’s downtown parking revitalization project
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